Regular vaccinations are essential to prevent you dog contracting several life-threatening diseases such as Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus. We also recommend vaccinating your dog against kennel cough (Parainfluenza & Bordetella) as although it is not fatal, it can develop into a chronic and debilitating condition.
The first vaccination is usually given at 6-8 weeks of age, then a booster at 12-14 weeks and 16-18 week. Annual vaccination boosters are recommended to maintain adequate protection for the rest of your pet’s life.
Intestinal worm infestations can cause vomiting & diarrhoea and even death in puppies. Roundworm, hookworm and tapeworm can also infect humans, so regular worming is essential.
When you first obtain your new puppy he/she should be wormed immediately and then ONE week later. From then on worm as follows 6wks old, 8wks old, 10wks old, 4mths old, 5mths old, 6mths old and then every 3 months for life!
We recommend an all-wormer such as Drontal tablets
Heartworm is a parasite spread by mosquitoes and can cause death in dogs. Heartworm is difficult to treat but easy to prevent. Your dog should start treatment from 12 weeks of age for the rest of their life.
Many forms available:
1) Monthly flavoured chew for those dogs difficult to administer tablets to e.g. Heartguard
2) Combined monthly heartwormer & intestinal wormer e.g. Interceptor, Milbemax
3) Combined monthly heartwormer, intestinal wormer & flea preventative e.g. Sentinel Spectrum
4) Monthly topical applications e.g. Revolution, Advocate
5) Yearly injection for dogs over 6 months- Proheart
Desexing removes the sexual urges from both dogs and bitches. In male dogs, desexing will help prevent your dog wandering, becoming territorial and limit aggressive tendencies. In female dogs it will prevent breeding and also stop your dog coming into heat. Dogs are best desexed between 5-6months of age as there is minimal post-operative discomfort and they recover quickly. Desexing our dog earlier in life may also prevent further complications such as mammaryt cancer or pyometra (potenitally fatal infection of the uterus). Your veterinary surgeon will be more than happy to discuss the details with you.
90% of fleas live in the environment, not on your dog. Therefore effective flea control involves treating the environment ad all of your pets! Regular hot washing of bedding and spraying kennels and bedding with insecticide will help minimise flea infestations. Flea bombs are also good for inside the house and vacuuming the carpet area on a regular basis.
1) Monthly spot on preparations
- Frontline Plus TopSpot- for dogs or cats over 8 weeks of age. Offers some tick control when used fortnightly.
- Advantage- for dogs and cats over 4 weeks of age. Effective if pets are not bathed often.
- Revolution-treats heartworm and fleas for dogs and cats.
- Advantixs- for dogs only, over 8 weeks of age.Offers some tick control when used fortnightly. Note: Toxic to cats
- Frontline spray offers a monthly treatment against fleas and 3 weeks prevention for ticks
3) Monthly tablets
- Sentinel- tablet that will sterilize fleas, preventing them from breeding but kill them.
- Comfortis- for dogs over 14 weeks of age, these tablets kill the adult fleas and help prevent flea allergy dermatitis. It is not to be used in lactating femals or dogs with epilepsy
4) Daily tablets
- Capstar which kills adult fleas within 30 minutes of administration however does not prevent eggs and flea larve from developing into adults. This product is best used in conjunction with Frontline Plus, Advantage, Advantix, Frontline Spray or Sentinel. Note: Frontline preparations should not be applied within 2 days of washing your dog. Advantage & Advocate can be applied when your dog is dry after bathing.
The paralysis tick (Ixodes holcyclus) is found along the East Coast of Australia and is one of the most dangerous parasites that can affect your pet. The tick attaches to your pet whilst sucking blood, secretes toxins which cause signs of poisoning, paralysis and eventually death. Signs of tick poisoning include wobbly back legs, change in bark, retching, vomiting and loss of appetite. Should your pet show any of these signs, you should seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. If you find a tick on your pet, remove it straight away or bring it in if you need help to remove it. If the head of the tick is left in, the tick can not continue to poison your pet, although it may cause a raised, itchy lump. The best method of tick prevention is the daily searching of your pet's skin and coat. There are also products that help reduce the chances of tick poisoning in your pet (e.g. Frontline, Advantix, Preventic collars) however none of them are 100% effective.
It is important to start grooming your puppy from a young age so that it learns to tolerate the brush and comb. When starting out, you should use a soft brush and gentle strokes along the body. Each session should only last a couple of minutes, increasing gradually. Try to speak in a soft voice and reward your puppy with treats and praise when it stands still. Be sure to check between your puppy's toes and in its ears regularly. If your puppy is a breed that may need to be clipped regularly, St Ives Veterinary Surgery recommends that you contact your preferred groomer to discuss when your puppy should have their first grooming session! (usually around 12 weeks of age)
Washing your Dog
Excessive washing of your dog can strip the coat of its natural oils making the dog itchy. Your dog should only be washed when required such as when dirty or smelly. Provided that they are brushed regularly, most dogs don't need to be bathed more than once every 1-2 months. However long coated dogs such as Maltese, Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso's may require bathing every 3-4 weeks.
What Shampoo do I use?
It is best to use a shampoo that is formulated especially for dogs as their skin's pH is different to humans. For a normal healthy coat we recommend using natural or oatmeal based shampoos. These will not strip the oil from your dog's coat.
Can I De-odourise my Dog between Baths?
Yes by using a deodorizing agent. Brush your dog regularly will also help remove unwanted hair and reduce the "doggy smell". We recommend using Lustre Aid, or a leaving in conditioner such as Aloveen Intestive conditioner.
When you first take your pup home, do not be alarmed if they are not eating immediately. It may take a day or so to settle in with the new surroundings. If possible for the first few weeks feed exactly the same food that the puppy was fed by the breeder or as advised by the pet shop.
What and How often should I Feed my Pup?
There is no standard answer to how much you should feed your dog. The amount depends on various factors such as the dog's weight, lifestyle, breed and the type of food given. Generally from 6 weeks of age your puppy should be fed 3-4 small meals per day up until 6 months of age and then from 6 months of age, reduced to 2 meals a day by the time your pup a year old. It is important that you do not change your pups diet too rapidly as it can cause an upset tummy. Should you wish to change your pup's diet, it should be done by gradually introducing small amounts of the new food over a period of 7 days. Your pup should have plenty of fresh water available at all times.
At St Ives Veterinary Surgery, we recommend feeding your dog a high quality premium dry food and raw meaty bones. Commercial dry pet foods have been divided into two categories:
1) Super premium foods e.g. Hill Science Diet, Eukanuba, Advance, Royal Canin. These are usually sold at pet shops & veterinarians.
2) Supermarket variety (note: all these diets are balanced nutritionally, which means they provide all the nutrition your dog will need to lead a healthy normal life. Premium diets are mainly based on meat proteins which are readily digestible. When feeding a premium diet you may notice that your pets skin may be less itchy, their coat shinier and their faeces is smaller, less odorous and better formed.
Feeding dry food will also help keep your dog's teeth clean. Raw meaty bones are great for your dog's enjoyment and for preventing dental disease and breath. Raw chicken wings and necks can be feed to puppies and small breed dogs. Lamb bones and beef bones are generally better for larger breeds. Remember to only feed RAW bones to your dog and to remove them once they become smaller enough that your dog can swallow.
Your puppy should be microchipped prior to purchasing it, if not then you will need to have a chip implanted. The microchip is about the size of a rice grain and sits under the skin between the shoulder blades. The microchip contains an I.D number that is linked to your details via a database. Should you ever change address or ownership these details need to be updated with your local council and veterinary surgery.
All dog need to be registered with the local council before they are 6 months old. To register your dog with the council they must be microchipped and the registration fee is to be paid at your local council. The documentation that indicates your dog has a microchip is not the same as registering your dog.
Great responsibility comes when owning a dog. Puppy classes are a great start to learning how to become a responsible dog owner whist allowing your puppy to socialise with other vaccinated puppies. The best age for socializing your puppy is between 8 to 16 weeks of age. Generally classes aim at teaching basic dog obedience and curb undesired behaviours, targeting areas such as chewing, aggression and house training using positive reinforcement.
St Ives Veterinary Surgery holds Delta Puppy Classes on a regular basis. For further information contact us on ph: (02) 9983 9494